294 episodes

The LJS Podcast is the podcast where you get weekly jazz tips, interviews, stories and advice for becoming a better jazz musician! Hosting the show is the jazz musician behind learnjazzstandards.com, author, and entrepreneur Brent Vaartstra, whose one goal is to answer any question about playing jazz music you may have. Jazz can be a challenging music to learn and play, but it doesn't have to be so hard. Each episode features a specific musical challenge that jazz students may come across, where it is discussed and answered. Special jazz guests frequent the show, sharing their expertise on an array of different musical subject matter. Join thousands of listeners getting free jazz education every week!

Learn Jazz Standards Podcast Brent Vaartstra: Jazz Musician, Author, and Entrepreneur

    • Music
    • 4.9 • 51 Ratings

The LJS Podcast is the podcast where you get weekly jazz tips, interviews, stories and advice for becoming a better jazz musician! Hosting the show is the jazz musician behind learnjazzstandards.com, author, and entrepreneur Brent Vaartstra, whose one goal is to answer any question about playing jazz music you may have. Jazz can be a challenging music to learn and play, but it doesn't have to be so hard. Each episode features a specific musical challenge that jazz students may come across, where it is discussed and answered. Special jazz guests frequent the show, sharing their expertise on an array of different musical subject matter. Join thousands of listeners getting free jazz education every week!

    What I'm Thinking About When I Improvise

    What I'm Thinking About When I Improvise

    Welcome to episode 292 where today we listen to a recording of me improvising over a popular jazz standard and try to understand what I'm thinking as I improvise. Improvisation can be a mysterious thing, and it can feel difficult to connect the dots between the scales, licks, and patterns you are practicing to actually improvising great solos. This episode will give some insight into how pro and advanced jazz musicians think.







    Listen to episode 292















    Now the art of improvising and playing great jazz solos tends to be a mysterious thing for those on the outside looking in. 







    Like what are the advanced and pro-level jazz musicians thinking about when they improvise? How are they able to spontaneously create things? 







    Are they thinking about scales? Are they thinking about chord tones? Are they thinking about licks that they've learned? Are they thinking about a particular emotion when they are playing? What is creating this ability to create spontaneously and great improvisations? 







    Well, in today's episode, I'm going to actually uncover that in myself to see if we can get inside of what I'm actually thinking when I'm improvising so that hopefully, you can take that information and that knowledge and apply it to your solos so that you do create great improvisations.







    In this episode:







    1. Improvisation is connecting the subconscious to the conscious







    2. Great improvisers have often played what they are improvising before







    3. It's important to practice things we want to play so that we develop our own "isms" that feel natural to us







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership







    2. Free Guide to learn standards by ear: Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way

    • 51 min
    Quick Win: Tasty Minor Bebop Altered Lick

    Quick Win: Tasty Minor Bebop Altered Lick

    Today I'm going to show you a tasty jazz lick that's going to make you sound like a bebop pro over minor 2-5-1 chord progressions.







    Listen to episode 291















    In this episode:







    1. What's a minor 2-5-1







    2. How to get that bebop sound







    3. What a Minor Bebop Altered Lick sounds like







    4. What makes this lick so great







    5. What are target notes







    6. Importance of 3rds







    7. Importance of 7ths







    8. The altered notes







    9. Tips for learning the altered lick







    Important Links







    1. Subscribe to the Podcast







    - Apple Podcasts







    - Spotify







    2. Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way







    3. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 10 min
    6 Powerful Reasons to Record Your Jazz Playing

    6 Powerful Reasons to Record Your Jazz Playing

    Welcome to episode 290 where today I talk about 6 powerful reasons why you should record your jazz playing. You may have heard people suggest recording yourself, but have you ever fully understood why it can be helpful? In this episode, I go over in detail how this simple regular practice could reap great rewards in your jazz playing.







    Listen to episode 290















    If you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you may have heard me say before that recording your jazz playing is a great idea.







    But I probably haven't really dug deep into why recording your jazz playing can actually have exponential benefits as far as you getting a lot out of your practice sessions and speeding up the progress of your jazz improv, and jazz comping skills in general.







    So, in this episode, we are going to dive into that. We're going to go over six reasons why recording yourself is going to be helpful for you in your jazz playing, as well as some tips for recording yourself at the end. 







    In this episode:







    1. Documenting your progress







    2. Simulating a performance environment







    3. Encourages repetition







    4. Identify things you are good at







    5. Identify things you need to work on







    6. Get community feedback







    7. 3 tips for recording yourself







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership







    2. Free Guide to learn standards by ear: Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way

    • 29 min
    Quick Win: Sick Minor Blues Improv Hack

    Quick Win: Sick Minor Blues Improv Hack

    So how do you play sick bluesy licks over top of minor 2-5-1 chord progressions? Well, I'm going to show you a very simple tool to make this really easy.







    Listen to episode 289















    In this episode:







    1. What is a minor 2-5-1 chord progression







    2. What is tritone substitution







    3. How to use tritone substitution







    4. Comparing to a Minor Blues Scale







    5. The Importance of Chord Tones







    6. How to Use Over a Jazz Standard







    Important Links







    1. Subscribe to the Podcast







    - Apple Podcasts







    - Spotify







    2. Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way







    3. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 7 min
    Beginner, to Intermediate, to Advanced Jazz Musician - How to Do It

    Beginner, to Intermediate, to Advanced Jazz Musician - How to Do It

    Welcome to episode 288 where today I talk about how to go from a beginner jazz player to intermediate, and finally to advanced jazz musician. I teach you exactly what I would do if I was starting all over, and how to speed up the process and cut back on practice time.







    Listen to episode 288















    How do we go from a beginner to intermediate, to advanced jazz player in as little time as possible?







    Whether you are a beginner and you're just getting started to jazz, or you're somewhere in the middle of the road, how do we get to that next level?







    Well, I'm going to go through in this episode exactly what I would do if I was starting from square one. Right from the very beginning, what would I do to most efficiently, most quickly become a better jazz musician? 







    No matter what instrument you play, it really doesn't matter, this could be a huge key for you in your long-term success as a jazz player. 







    So, let's dive right into this. I would encourage you to get out your notes and to really pay attention to this one because this is going to be absolutely value-packed.







    In this episode:







    1. Start Listening (and a key tip)







    2. Learn a basic jazz blues (and 4 crucial steps)







    3. Learn 1 jazz standard a month (and 5 crucial steps)







    4. Learn 1 jazz standard a month (again)







    5. Setting up regular jams/gigs







    6. Analyzing problems and attacking them







    7. How to speed up progress while practicing less







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership







    2. Free Guide to learn standards by ear: Learn Jazz Standards the Smart Way

    • 54 min
    How to Deal With Musical Failure

    How to Deal With Musical Failure

    Welcome to episode 287 where today I talk about musical "failure" - how to think about it, how to deal with it, and ultimately how to appropriately use it to your advantage. In this episode, I talk about how there is only really one type of true failure, and how to adopt a mindset that sets you up to win everytime.







    Listen to episode 287















    Inevitably, somewhere along the line in your journey of becoming a better jazz musician, you are going to fail.







    There's going to be something that goes wrong, maybe even in your mind, very wrong, like you get lost in the middle of the chord changes at a jam session or gig and it's embarrassing, or you completely flob a solo. It doesn't sound good. It sounds absolutely horrible.







    You may, even just in the practice room by yourself, disappoint yourself with the progress that you're making. And you'll look at it as a failure. 







    But how do we deal with that? How do we deal with those failures and how do we come out better on the other side of them? And how do we reframe our thinking about what musical failure actually is and what it means?







    Well, that's exactly what I'm going to talk about in today's episode. We're going to dive deep into that topic so that we can start reframing the narrative and improving our jazz skills with the right mindset.







    In this episode:







    1. The only type of true musical failure







    2. How to use "failure" to help you make gains







    3. Adopting a mindset that helps you win everytime







    Important Links







    1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
51 Ratings

51 Ratings

homeworkhurts ,

Amazing

Listened to one episode (179) and subscribed to the podcast right after! I’m excited to listen to more, I know I’ll get a lot of great information! My band director lead me to Learn Jazz Standards to find lead sheets, but with the podcast and other things I’ve found a jackpot of awesome information!

Helloguitar! ,

Episode on using the melody to improvise

Hi Brent,
I enjoyed hearing what you did on this podcast and understand what you were saying. However, what I don’t know from that podcast is actually how to do this for myself. I have no idea as to where to start something like this in my practice. If there were some visuals along with the aural component of this episode, that would have been helpful. A 5 for enjoying the pleasure of your playing but for me a 1 for its being useful for myself.

Amazon122s ,

Huge Value

It’s impossible not to become a better jazz musician if you listen to this podcast and put what you are hearing into practice. Big value bombs dropped regularly by Brent and his guests. Thank you!

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